The Chalz is going to do the unthinkable: he’s going to review the Hellraiser films in one review! Why? To show you what the Chalz thinks is the best and worst of a series that has reached the far side of both extremes. Yes, I know I’m not going to be able to give a good synopsis for each film in one review, but that’s not what I’m after here. What makes the Hellraiser series so awesome is each entry’s ability to stand-alone from the rest. I saw Hellraiser II: Hellbound (Unrated) before the original and had no problem catching on to the story. Sure, seeing the first will help a lot with some of the characters, but its not necessary. Everything is explained, and the following sequels set themselves apart from one another. So as to not waste anymore-precious time or space, let’s get started:
Hellraiser– This is considered a modern classic, and it deserves its moniker. Clive Barker takes us on a trip through his disturbing (and entertaining!) mind and leaves us with plenty to clamor about. This is totally different from anything ever done before it, and packs some serious originality, you want your gore? Barker serves up buckets of it. Maggots and images of rot are used effectively here, and the acting is slightly better than cheesy. But hey, this is an ’80s flick–it can get away with it. BOTTOM LINE: A must see for a horror fan; a classic. Love it or hate it, it has its reputation and it has its fans.
Hellraiser II: Hellbound– This is the first one I got a hold of, and it remains my favorite. The Christy character from the original is much better here, and the cheesy acting is toned down a notch. Pinhead has a more active role in the plot (though he still remains more of a background character) and the action is done at a nice pace. Not exactly a thinking man’s movie, it entertains, and has all the nice Hell imagery and skinless demons a horror fan needs. If you liked the first one, or even if you didn’t, this is a fresh sequel that put a smile on my face. Gore? You betcha, it carries some pretty good stuff. Get the unrated version; the crazy guy cutting himself on the mattress is grade A gore. BOTTOM LINE: The Chalz loves it, even more so than the original…but just barely.
Hellraiser III: Hell on Earth– Who’s idea was it to make Pinhead the main antagonist in the series?!? That was a bad move, as we can see here. Good special effects and nice kills no NOT always make a good movie. This has some groovy imagery, but Pinhead sucks here and so does the movie. BOTTOM LINE: Only for diehard Pinhead fanatics.
Hellraiser IV: Bloodlines– Why this looks like a made-for-TV-movie is beyond me. The protagonist looks like he has down syndrome, and I got tired of seeing his disproportioned face in every timeline of the movie. I got really tired of watching the same guy portray different characters..really tired. The only saving grace here is the way in which Pinhead is finally expelled, and the hot female demon’s nude scene (yeah!). BOTTOM LINE: Show me someone that gives this a great review and I’ll show you a moron.
Hellraiser V: Inferno– Ok, I know this won’t be a popular opinion, but I actually LIKED this one. No, it doesn’t even touch the first two, but it sure as heck beats Hell on Earth and Bloodlines. My God, I’d actually rather watch The Power Ranger Movie than watch those again. Inferno puts Pinhead back where he belongs, in the background of the plot. The mystery theme gives this installment a new perspective, and while it does have its slow points it still delivers. Sure, the “surprise” ending isn’t all that hard to figure out. Sure, the main character isn’t very likeable. But hey, the ending is cool, and the protagonist, if that’s what you can call him, is a more realistic hero. Gore? Some decent gore, but more emphasis is put on the convolutions of the plot. BOTTOM LINE: This baby borrows more from Jacob’s Ladder and Silent Hill than it does from the previous films, but hey, at least it’s not a rip off carbon copy of the originals. This one has some good to it.